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Title: J. [Wightman?], Lancaster, to Eliza Wightman, Lisburn.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileWightman, James/53
SenderWightman, James
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationbusinessman (owns a factory)
Sender ReligionProtestant
OriginLancaster, Penn., USA
DestinationLisburn, Co. Antrim, N.Ireland
RecipientWightman, Eliza
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceCopyright Retained by Prof. J.A. Faris, 15 Coney Island, Ardglass, Co. Down. BT30 7UQ
ArchiveUlster American Folk Park
Doc. No.9802453
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 09:02:98.
Word Count1042
TranscriptPAID 12/c [12 cents?]

Miss Wightman

1823 [Dublin transit postmark
27 November 1823?]

Lancaster 24th Oct. 1823
My Dear Eliza
I received the letters from you & Jas Ward
forwarded by Mr. Sheppard from New York on the 30 Sep. - he
must have had a very tedious passage yours being dated
13 Jun - they lay two weeks in this office before I received
them and remained two more in my possession before I was in
a situation to read them - I was dangerously ill at the
time with a severe attack of bilious fever which confined me to
bed for six weeks - the seventh week I was able to be up
occasionally and this day terminated the eighth in which I have
been able to go out in a gig or to walk about the [house?] -
from the second week I had two Physicians to attend me, for
two weeks they visited me three times a day one of them was
my intimate acquaintance and had it not been for the assiduous
attention they paid me, my recovery had been very doubtful -
'tis true the Almighty was of himself all sufficient, and my
heart cannot but feel the deepest sense of gratitude towards
him for this merciful rescuing me from the grave - it was
at one time reported among my acquaintances in Philad
[Philadelphia?] that I was dead, I hope none of them may have
mentioned it in their letters to Ireland, or that this may
reach you before the report - the attendant expenses will
make a deep inroad on the little property I had accumulated -
besides medicine and Doctors fees, I had a man to attend me
at 6 Dollars a week & his board - latterly he took the fever
& [again?] & got a little fellow in his place - the bilious
fever and fever and ague has prevailed this season to an
alarming extent over all the state, the former has carried
off a great number of the inhabitants, in a small town called
Reading, about 40 miles from this, there were 37 funerals in
one day. - I find it impossible to carry on the manufacturing
here - from a dread of a return of the sickness, most of my
hands left me the beginning of summer, of the small number
that continued at the factory 4 have been consigned to the
grave, among whom was Edwd Glenfield formerly of Lambeg, he
was attacked a few days before I was, but his constitution
had been broken down of a long time - I was obliged to send
several to the county hospital where they yet remain.
I wrote to my sister Bess on the 1st June, I was there
in hope that the coolness of the season would have prevented
the appearance of the sickness, but the fair prospects I had
then anticipated have all been blasted - I shall however
carry on if God gives me health until next May when I shall
make arrangements for returning to Ireland for no consideration
would induce me to remain in America, much less to bring you
over here, I might as well bury you in a wilderness, although
this is a populous place and I have a pretty general
acquaintance, (in many cases an intimate one) with the most
respectable of its inhabitants I have never had an invitation
to a house in it yet, nor I suppose would not were I to live
here 50 years - "Invitation" is not in our dictionary here -
Although our crops this season have been most [extensive?]
(unprecedently so) yet but little good will result from.
Markets have fallen accordingly and the farmer will have
a great deal of extra labour to realize the same money that he
did last year. - There is still a great depression in trade
which operates very severely against the poor Irish, who are
chiefly all weavers and labourers - very few of either can
[-----?] [torn] pays them bread and washing - a great many
[torn] the labourers were employed at the Canals which are
many in this state - the epidemic diseases swept them off
in hundreds - Lancaster lies midway on a circuitous route
between Philad [Philadelphia?] and Baltimore - weavers are
constantly passing between the two towns & generally give
me a call in search of employment - few of them have a
cent in their pocket or a second shirt for their back and many
have to beg their way - the depression of real estate is
incredible a [few?] property was sold in this vicinity
yesterday for 10,000 Dollars for which 40,000 was refused
a few years ago, and in Pittsburgh, that once flourishing
place, a property was lately sold for 10,000 for which 50,000
was some time since refused - these two facts I have from
the President of the Philad [Philadelphia?] Bank and the
President of the Pittsburgh bank with whom I have spent the
greater part of this morning, and who were the sellers in both
cases - for a large portion of the landed property is
mortgaged to the different banks in the country
I had a long letter this morning from Henderson dated
Glasgow - I wrote to Nancy in March since which I have not
heard from that quarter, I intend to write to Willm
[William?] in a few days or as soon as I can write any
way legibly - I'm sure you will have great difficulty
deciphering this letter, for I have had great difficulty
writing it - give my love to your sister [--?]
Yours ever affect [affectionately?] JM

The letter you sent by Mr McCall has not come to hand -
the Roman Catholic Priest of this place died a few weeks
ago of a malignant fever - he was interred with all his
clothes, vestments &c on him, with plenty of [m---y?]
candles [&c?] put into the coffin - he was buried at one side
of the grave yard with his feet towards the feet of the other
bodies, that at the resurrection he might meet his
congregation face to face - I presume you have recd [received?]
Miss Wright's letter from America - The [they?] abound with
falsehood and misrepresentation